Perfect Pitcher Drink Recipe for Summer: Sparkling Watermelon Sangria

The 10-Minute Happy Hour

Throughout the summer, our CSA membership has pushed my culinary prowess to extremes. Finding ways to continually interpret items such as spinach, Swiss chard and summer squash into new and exciting versions has been trying to say the least. Canning and preserving have eased the plethora of said veggies, and incorporating herbs and berries into Happy Hour has been advantageous — not to mention delicious. Here's the latest: sparkling watermelon sangria. Here's the story.
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Last week my friend Jen delivered another watermelon to us. She apologetically handed it over, explaining the large crack resulted from an unexpected roll when she hit the brakes at a stop sign. No larger than a plump football, I placed the cracked melon in the fridge and forgot about it. Not because I don't love watermelon, but we were diligently still working on the one we had hacked into the week before.

But the crack was weighing on me. I didn't want it to go bad so the next day out it came, and with an enthusiastic whack I sliced it open only to find a luscious yellow flesh staring back at me. I was shocked! It was our first yellow watermelon! It was odd staring at the golden flesh while smelling and eating the sweetest watermelon (with real seeds) you could imagine. It was gone in record-breaking time. Even after this watermelon-feeding frenzy, we still had half of another watermelon to get through; so into sangria it went.

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When making this sangria, you can puree watermelon with brandy or white port if you want a smoother slushie-type drink. I like my Sangria with the snack at the bottom of the sip so I cube my melon. It's like a drink and hors d'oeuvre all at once. Be sure your watermelon cubes are nice and cold because they do break down quickly and they're better with a firmer texture. You'll also notice I don't add any extra sugar here. The Moscato is slightly sweet and the watermelon is sweet enough at its peak.

So this week if you can't get eat your whole watermelon, break out your pitcher and drink it.

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Sparkling Watermelon Sangria Recipe

serves 4 to 6

4 cups watermelon, cubed and cold
3/4 cups dry white port, such as Churchill's
1 lime, sliced thin
750ml bottle Moscato, chilled*
3 cups lime seltzer water, chilled

In a pitcher place 3 cups of the watermelon cubes (saving some for garnish) and white port. Be sure these are cold as they can become mushy when room temp. (You can even freeze them for 30 minutes first.)

Add 8 to 10 slices of lime.

Add the Moscato and seltzer water. Stir with wooden spoon to mix.

Pour into ice-filled glasses and top each glass with a couple pieces of watermelon and a lime slice.

* Wine recommendation: I like 7 Daughters Moscato because it's delicious and not too sweet, and it's under $15/bottle.

What's your favorite white wine to use for Sangria? Join the conversation here: Best White Wine for White Sangria?

Maureen C. Petrosky writes what she knows, food, booze and parties. Author of The Wine Club, she appears regularly on The TODAY show to share her vices (and advice) with the world. For more info check out www.maureenpetrosky.com or follow her on Twitter @maureenpetrosky.

More Sangria Recipes!
Perfect Pitcher Drink Recipe: Sparkling White Peach Sangria
Drink Recipe: Non-Alcoholic Sangria

(Images: Maureen Petrosky)

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